By Ignacio R. Bunye
During Ayala Corporation’s recent annual stockholders meeting, Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala expressed confidence in the company’s ability to regain momentum lost due to the pandemic and highlighted the continued strength of the company’s businesses and commitment to equitable progress.
Meanwhile, President and CEO Cezar “Bong” P. Consing reported that the company’s earnings have reached 90% of pre-COVID levels, indicating progress towards full recovery. The company plans to continue investing significantly to take advantage of the country’s growth, and while remaining cautious, has a constructive outlook for 2023.
Consing added that going forward, the company is focused on six objectives: 1) getting core income back to pre-pandemic levels 2) obtaining higher dividends from core business units 3) rationalizing its portfolio so that non-core business units have the potential to be the next engine of growth, similar to Globe and ACEN 4) continuing to realize value towards its P50 billion goal 5) maintaining a strong balance sheet to be able to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities and 6) completing net zero roadmaps and ingraining ESG in all its activities.
In 2022, Ayala Corporation earned a net income of P27.7 billion, which is 18% higher compared to the previous year. This growth can be attributed to increased contributions from BPI and Ayala Land, both of which benefited from the economy reopening.
Ayala’s net income for the period was P27.4 billion, which remained unchanged from the previous year after taking into account several significant one-off items. These included gains from BPI’s sale of property, partial sale of Globe’s data center business and towers, ACEN’s accelerated acquisition of UPC Australia, and write-off from the sale of SLTEC. Additionally, there were impairment provisions on investments in Yoma by AC Ventures.
ACEN announced that its consolidated revenues for 2022 grew by 35% to P35.2 billion, mainly due to contributions from new Philippine merchant plants for the entire year. The consolidated net income for the year was P13.1 billion, which included P8.6 billion of net impact from revaluation gains due to its full acquisition of the Australia platform. However, the figure also included provisions for the voiding of the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation’s (PEMC) Administered/Regulated Pricing (ARP) regime by a Supreme Court decision, as well as for the Lac Hoa and Hoao Dong Wind project in Vietnam.
Regarding Ayala’s emerging businesses, AC Health reported a net income of P229 million, which was attributed mainly to improved performance of its pharma and clinic units. Additionally, a remeasurement gain from its stake in IE Medica contributed to the positive result. Meanwhile, AC Logistics focused on expanding its operations beyond last-mile delivery and integrating the assets of Entrego and AIR21 Holdings, Inc. to enhance operational efficiency and improve the customer experience.
In 2022, Ayala’s group capital expenditures (capex) amounted to P280.3 billion, marking a 24% increase from the previous year. This was mainly driven by investments made by Ayala Land, Globe, and ACEN. For 2023, Ayala has allocated P264 billion for group capex, of which P19.4 billion is expected to come from the parent company to support investment opportunities During the same meeting, the stockholders re-elected to Ayala Corporation’s board of directors Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (JAZA), Cezar “Bong” Consing, Delfin Lazaro, Mercedita Nolledo and independent directors Rizalina Mantaring, Cesar Purisima and Chua Sock Koong.
Meanwhile, Ayala Corporation’s proposed P20 billion follow-on offering and re-issuance of class A preferred shares have been approved by the Philippine Stock Exchange. The company is offering 4 million class A preferred shares with an oversubscription option of up to 4 million shares at P2,500 per share, which will be listed and traded on the Main Board of the PSE after approval. The preferred shares will have an initial dividend rate of 6.3587 percent based on the simple average of the five-year BVAL reference rates for April 28, May 2, and May 3, 2023, plus a spread of 40 basis points.
Ayala Corporation disclosed that the net proceeds from the offering will be used to refinance certain Philippine Peso-denominated bonds and short-term loans, partially fund capital expenditures, and refinance callable preferred “B” shares due in 2023.